Good morning from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal Station. This weekend I’m off again on one of my train trips to promote rail tourism in Thailand. I’m doing two major destination trips per month with the kind cooperation of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) who are helping me with logistical support. I’m on this trip with my friend Mike from Thailandee.com.
This trip is in two parts. We first took the train to Nakhon Ratchasima. And then a bus to Phimai to attend the light and sound show. Then the next morning we went back to Nakhon Ratchasima to catch the same train but this time to the end of the line in Ubon Ratchathani. We then rented a van there for a two day trip before catching the sleeper train back to Bangkok on Monday night.
Date of Travel: 18-20 February 2023
These are the photos and notes that I tweeted live during the trip.
 We first took Special Express No.21 (thaitrainguide.com/timetables/no-…) to Nakhon Ratchasima. This four hour trip cost 423 Baht. The price includes a meal, snacks, coffee and water. Next we are going to do a side trip to Phimai and then come back to the station tomorrow to go to Ubon.
 We arrived at Nakhon Ratchasima Railway Station exactly on time at 10:01am. We then took a Tuk Tuk to the new bus terminal. This was 100 Baht. There are also motorcycle taxis in front of the station which are 60 Baht.
 The new bus terminal in Nakhon Ratchasima is less than ten minutes from the railway station. The bus to Phimai costs 59 Baht. The next bus was due to leave at 11:30am so we had an hour to wait.
This is the Facebook of the his company: facebook.com/profile.php?id…
 The bus to Phimai only took 90 minutes. He dropped us off near the entrance to the historical park in town. Then it was a few minutes walk to our hotel, Phimai Paradise Hotel. Only 550 Baht including breakfast.
 A good place to start when exploring Phimai in Nakhon Ratchasima is Phimai National Museum. The exhibits and bilingual information boards give you a good introduction to the historical sites in the area. Entrance fee is 100 Baht.
 The highlight of any visit to Phimai is undoubtedly Prasat Hin Phimai one of the largest Khmer temples in Thailand. It used to be an important town at the time of the Khmer Empire and was connected to Angkor by a major highway.
 At Sai Ngam in Phimai there is a very large banyan tree and a group of smaller ones joined together.
 You won’t go hungry when visiting Phimai. In the late afternoon or evening, I recommend visiting the night food market by the clock tower. Lots of choice there.
 This I evening I attended the Mini Light and Sound Show at Prasat Hin Phimai Historical Park. During January and February every year they put on two free events. This begins at around 4:00pm when they start selling food and OTOP products in the park.
 The highlight is the Mini Light and Sound Show that is performed in front of Prasat Hin Phimai. The performers are from Phimaiwittaya School. Preparation for the show is part of the curriculum. They do two mini shows in January and February and then the big show in November.
 Good morning from Phimai in Nakhon Ratchasima Province in Northeastern Thailand. This is Day 2 of a three day trip. We will go to Ubon Ratchathani next.
These are some drone photos of Prasat Hin Phimai in the middle of the town and very close to my hotel.
 Our hotel gave us a free lift to the bus stop in Phimai. There we caught a minibus back to Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat) at 6:50am. Check their Facebook for latest times.
 Breakfast this morning was at Prim Dimsum near Nakhon Ratchasima Railway Station. I had my usual Kai Kra Ta with a bread roll and coffee. Seems to be a very popular restaurant. I also had Yum Kai Dao which is a spicy salad with egg.
 At Nakhon Ratchasima Railway Station we caught Special Express No.21 to Ubon Ratchathani (thaitrainguide.com/timetables/no-…). This is the same train we caught yesterday from Bangkok. It’s a diesel railcar with reclining seats and air-conditioning. Meals are included. Trip is 4 hours.
 Special Express No.21 arrived safely in Ubon Ratchathani. (We were 10 minutes late because we hit a cow.) The train ride in the air-conditioned carriage was comfortable. The seats reclined and there was enough leg room. Food was served to the seat. Toilet was Western style.
 At Ubon Ratchathani we were picked up by a pre-arranged driver and van. The driver is Tun (Facebook: facebook.com/profile.php?id…). The cost is 1,800 baht per day. We have to pay for his hotel room tonight and petrol at the end of the trip.
 Our first stop in Ubon Ratchathani Province was in Phibun alongside the Mun River. Many people come here for the famous Salapao, Khanom Jeeb, and curry puff pie shops. You can also watch them being made.
 On Highway 2222, beyond Phibun, you cannot help but notice shops selling gongs, bells and drums. Most families in this area have been making them for generations. It is said they make 7,000 a year for temples around Thailand.
 A popular recreational spot in Ubon Ratchathani is Pattaya Noi on the northern end of Sirindhorn Reservoir. There are restaurants on each pier as well as various water sports that you can do. It’s like a day at the beach without the beach.
 One of my favourite temples is Wat Sirindhorn Wararam in Sirindhorn District of Ubon Ratchathani Province. It’s great at sunset but should be even better later when the artwork starts to glow. Hopefully it will be good tonight.
 Wat Sirindhorn Wararam in Sirindhorn District of Ubon Ratchathani Province is really beautiful just after sunset during the “blue hour” as designs on the ground and on the side of the temple building glow in the dark. Not to be missed.
 Dinner tonight was at our hotel Tohsang Heritage Khongjiam which overlooks the Mekong River. On the other side is Laos. I will share some photos of the area in the morning.
 Good morning from Khong Chiam district of Ubon Ratchathani Province. This early morning view from Wat Tham Khuha Sawan is looking down on the Mekong River. On the left is Laos.
 The Two-Color River View Point in Khong Chiam is where the water from the Mun River runs into the Mekong producing a two colour effect. The best time to see it is during the rainy season and so the best view of it today was only from my drone.
 Above Wat Tham Heo Sin Chai there is an overhanging rock that makes a cave shelter. During the rainy season there is a waterfall here too which makes it even more scenic. Today the monks were using a hosepipe to recreate the waterfall!
 Back at our hotel it was breakfast with a view. In the photo with me is my friend Mike from @Thailandee_com who I invited to join me for this trip. We stayed at Tohsang Heritage Khongjiam last night. Today is our last day. We will catch the sleeper back to Bangkok tonight.
 Our first stop after checking out from the hotel was Pha Taem National Park in Khong Chiam district. The first two highlights are the mushroom shaped limestone rock formations caused by erosion and the cliff top views of the Mekong River.
 Pha Taem National Park is most famous for the cave paintings in various styles and techniques including outlined figures, silhouetted paintings, stick figures, hand-stencilling, and imprinting. The paintings on the cliff face date back approximately 2,500 years.
 Lunch today was at Pk Riverside Resort which has some great views of the Mekong River. My favourite dish was the spicy wing bean salad. Afterwards we had coffee and cheesecake at the coffee shop next door.
 Definitely a highlight of Ubon Ratchathani province is Sam Phan Bok in Pho Sai district. The name refers to the 3,000 holes in the sandstone rock face that were created by erosion resulting in interesting shapes.
 Sam Phan Bok is under water between July and October so best to visit at the end of the year. To rent a songtaew for the round-trip to the rock formations is 200 Baht. Advisable to take a guide as she can show you the best places to take photos. She will even be your model! You can also take a 500 Baht or 1,000 Baht boat ride if you want to see even more.
 One of my favourite temples in Ubon Ratchathani city is Wat Phra That Nong Bua. It has a 56 meter high pagoda and a pair of giant colorful Naga snakes.
 There are quite a few good places to eat at night in Ubon Ratchathani. The one I tried was Thung Sri Muang Night Market which seemed to have a good choice of street food.
 This is the end of my three-day train trip to Phimai and Ubon Ratchathani in Northeastern Thailand. It’s time to take the sleeper train back to Bangkok. I hope you enjoyed my photos and I’ve inspired you to take the train to this region.
 Good morning from the outskirts of Bangkok. I had a good nights sleep on the train from Ubon. This route also has the newer CNR sleeper train but it gets in crazily early. Rapid No. 140 is better. Berths are slightly longer and wider in these old sleepers. Cheaper too.
 I’ve arrived safely back at Krung Thep Aphiwat Station. Follow @ThaiTrainGuide for more photos and details about the trains that I caught. See you on the next trip!